Gatwick Airport Evacuated as Police Investigate Explosives

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Police have carried out a controlled explosion at Gatwick airport after a man appeared to discard a firearm and other possessions in a dustbin.

Officers were called to reports on Saturday morning of the man acting suspiciously. The 41-year-old, who is from Vendôme – about 100 miles (160km) south-west of Paris, was arrested on suspicion of firearms offences and was being questioned, police said.

The news came soon after it was announced there would be heightened security measures at British airports in the wake of Friday’s Paris terror attacks, during which at least 127 people were killed.

According to Sussex police, explosives experts investigated what was initially deemed a suspicious item discarded by the man and carried out a small controlled explosion. “Personal items and what appears to be a firearm were recovered and have been removed for forensic examination. However, the viability of the weapon has yet to be established,” police said.

The arrested man was “landside” at the airport and had not checked in or passed through any passport or security checks, officers said on Saturday afternoon.

DS Nick May of Sussex police said: “The man is being interviewed as we try to determine the circumstances of the incident, but at this time it is too early to say what his intentions, if any, were.

“However, given the events in Paris on Friday evening, there is heightened awareness around any such incident and it is best that we treat the matter in all seriousness.

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SOURCE: The Guardian, Kevin Rawlinson